Leather Bound

Do you love the smell of old leather? I’m talking the old dusty leather tomes you’d find in a library, the scent of a well-worn leather jacket or luxe leather bag. This candle I found at @Target (of all places, ha) is all that and more. The wood wick is a neat feature, it crackles as it burns.

It’s appropriately called, ‘Leather Bound’ and it’s a perfect scent for this overcast Fall-like day in California. I’m SO not the cinnamon pumpkin blah blah type of fragrance consumer. I want my home to smell clean, classic and cozy. Bonus points if the scent (whether candle or perfume) is androgynous.

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Craftsman Curb Appeal

When we bought our home (affectionately named #Bungalow2609 on IG), the curb appeal was severely lacking. Sure the house itself is super cute, but the landscaping left much to be desired. Living in Southern California and being in a perpetual drought, our lawn was half dead and weeds were plotting their take over. It also didn’t help that the mailman would often walk on our lawn instead of using the actual sidewalk and walkway to our porch (lazy much?).

We knew upon buying the house and moving in that one of our first projects was to increase our home’s curb appeal. We wanted the outside to reflect the history and elegance a 110 year old house deserved.


It began with adding a new redwood, craftsman style side gate/arbor which enclosed and secured the right side of the house. By doing that it allows us to use it as a dog run. We also replaced the existing driveway gate with a matching, sturdier, craftsman style gate. Those two additions alone made a world of difference.

Next up landscaping!

The Husband and I often drive around checking out front yards for inspiration. When we see a well manicured yard versus one that’s overgrown and in a sad state we can’t help but pass judgment. We knew from selling our first home that landscaping makes a tremendous impact/first impression. It shows whether the owners care about their investment.

For our first home, we did all the landscaping ourselves (except for taking out the grass). It was hard work but definitely something we were proud of. This time around we have a toddler to attend to so we knew we wouldn’t have the time to DIY. Plus, our yard now is much bigger than our previous home.

Around September we started contacting various landscaping companies about transforming our front yard. We gathered quotes and eventually settled on a local landscaping company that provided design and implementation.

Working with the designer we came up with a “cottage garden” layout. We knew we couldn’t do a basic drought tolerant design as the ‘desert style’ plants (cactus and what not) wouldn’t complement our 1906 craftsman. Instead, our designer incorporated plants using a variegated green, white and purple color scheme. Below is the final design with my edits in red.


We got the design and quote in October and labor began this week. It only took the crew two days from start to finish. We were totally impressed with their professionalism and speed.


The Husband and I plan to add solar lights as well as a few decorative elements (fountain? birdbath?) eventually. Right now we are enjoying coming home to a beautifully landscaped yard. We can’t wait for all the plants and trees to mature!

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Channeling Holly Golightly

My furniture and decor taste ranges from sleek and contemporary to full on colorful and textured bohemian. I love having/using foundational color shades such has grey and white and accenting it with bright, bold color and fabrics.

Fortunately, the Husband shares this same aesthetic (or he indulges me, ha) so he wasn’t at all surprised when I mentioned a couple months ago that our favorite vintage and antique store, Magnolia and Willow, posted a bathtub couch and matching hanging lamp on their IG feed and I was dreaming about it.


Back then the price ($349) was a bit more than either of us wanted to spend so I ‘liked’ it on IG and made a note to keep an eye on it.

Well, fast forward to last week when the price was reduced to a mere $199.95 for both items! It was a steal and after a quick discussion of how we would get it home (asking the BIL for help and use of his truck) and where to put it (the guesthouse) the Husband and I headed over there to take a look at it in person to make a final decision.

At the store we looked over the cushions and pillows to make sure they were in good condition. The tub itself was solid, most definitely cast iron as all vintage claw foot tubs are and thusly weighed a ton. The seat cushion and backs were made well with wood, thick foam and sturdy fabric. The two side pillows were firm but pliable and the covers can be easily changed out. We were sold and paid for it that day.


The Husband and his bro picked it up a couple days later and now she sits happily in our guesthouse. Eventually we plan to recover the cushions with a more muted fabric (I’m thinking a mid-tone grey) and find different throw pillow covers. For now, I love it as is. This couch has definitely taken us one step closer to achieving the cool, boho guesthouse or “zen den” I’ve been dreaming about since we bought our house. All in due time, friends!

Oh and as for the lamp, it’s in our living room and it’s quite an attention grabber, ha. I’ll have to take a pic of it soon.

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Vintage Shopping

When we bought our first home we didn’t have very much by way of furniture. We had the basics (beds, bookshelves, dressers), but nothing truly unique. Once we got settled and looked around we realized we didn’t like all the contemporary stuff found in big box stores, so we started exploring local vintage shops.

Magnolia and Willow, a vintage and antique shop in Long Beach, is where we found most of our pieces. We scored everything from our bedroom side tables, living room end tables, decorative mirrors, shadow boxes, to various knick knacks and other decor. What we love is each furniture piece is made out of real wood and in great condition. Prices are reasonable, too.

Per the Husband’s suggestion, today we hit up a couple shops in Lakewood, Aunt Frannys and The Picket Fence, that we’ve never been to. I think he had more fun shopping than I did! This is what we bought and all of them were spotted by the Husband first. He’s got a great eye for these things.


The metal stars and nutcracker were $12.50 each, vintage glass bottle $6 and rustic wooden toolbox was $14. The little Radio Flyer wagon was only $25 – can’t wait for the boys to play with it especially L as he’s still learning how to balance and take steps.

Not shown is a cute outdoor metal birdhouse tealight holder we picked out for our front lawn. I’m still looking for a bird bath or fountain; I’ll find one eventually!

Overall, we had a successful morning. I love that we share this hobby. 🙂

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Can I tell you about our new home?

After about 2.5 years of living in our first house (#bungalow479 on IG) and doing quite a few renovations on it, we were ready to move on to something a bit bigger and in a nicer (less foot traffic-y) area. Taking advantage of the current housing market and rates, we started looking at our options. We were pleasantly surprised to find out our home’s value increased in a short amount of time. With that in mind we decided to go for it and begin house hunting for our second home.

Let me just say, buying your first home is quite an experience in and of itself. But selling it and buying another one? That’s a whole other animal. There are so many things to take care of with your current home (finishing up renovations and/or fixing things, getting it ready for open houses and private showings, daily deep cleaning and upkeep… etc.). In short, it was stressful and we now know why some people never move, ha.

You know what though? All the days spent weeding through the MLS listings (sometimes hourly!), the endless paperwork, the waiting around, the back and forth was worth it because we found a wonderful new home to call our own for the next several years (at least! lol).

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